The path of no or least resistance.

I always learn something from every horse and human I meet, today a very clever mare showed us that she could be very clear in her opinions about taking a path of no resistance. When she was given something to resist against she showed us, not really by resisting but showing she wasn’t keen. When we took the path where there was flow, harmony, gentle requests that she liked and in moments gave over leadership to her, she offered everything.

She also showed us that if we drop the connection and our focus for one second, again she feels offended, she will learn to enjoy moments where we break the connection and did indeed start to,  when it is done in the right way with clear intention not by accident. She communicates clearly her feelings and when we let her know we understood them she was ready to offer more and more connection. Her lovely human also felt such a strong connection from her and how there can be moments of give and take, like any fair 50/50 relationship. She really is an amazing teacher! also ready to be the student, as we should be, ready to guide and lead also ready to follow and learn.

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When we walk down this path things become effortless and easy, we have to be ready to drop agendas feel the moment and leave our ego elsewhere, or at least start to quieten it! That is when the magic happens like today with Elle exploring The Waterhole Rituals At Liberty. Here she is coming out of the woods at home.

Love Jayne x

 

A Week with my horses.

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I thought it would be fun to share a little video each day this week, I have a pretty free week so I am hoping we will have lots of time together. There will be some stuff that is work in progress, I always start with our connection and if it feels like I might get a no I change the question, if there is one string of connection that needs to be stronger we always work on that, Our Bond, Trust, Respect, Willingness and Focus, then when we start something new that the girls don’t understand I know they will give me their best try. Here is Sunday this is the day I try to work both girls together, it’s my Sunday morning treat. I also get to see the faces Maya pulls when I am not looking!

 

 

Here is Monday, and here is the secret to why we don’t do ‘training’ as such, it feels more like making a request to a friend in the moment when it is something they would like to do. Sharing territory and waiting for what feels right today, Maya offered the game of touching the barrel. We did lots more, hard to fit in to 90 secs. We also ended sharing territory and never have a problem putting on fly masks etc.

 

 

 

TUESDAY. so today Noonoo was in a performing mood, she gets these days, with dressage in mind I have been asking her to lift her hind legs ( Much needed for piaffe) well you never know! We started with the easier leg (left) she seemed to remember and today I pointed with my cane from the greenhouse, hopefully the tomatoes won’t mind,and she lifted. Then we worked at liberty crossing the left hind under and then crossing over, all fun requests that also help her become more supple. Then as I was thinking she has got this on the easy side, she showed me she could be ready to try the other side! They always seem to be ahead of me! The saying be careful what you think for your thoughts could become your reality applies with her.

 

 

WEDNESDAY, today I asked Noons if we could do some riding, yes was the answer but hurry up and trot there are horse flies! I have been riding in the bareback pad to help with coming back down from canter to walk, and checking that I am sitting straight, we are getting somewhere as her canter has become more balanced, this clip shows how hard it is for a horse not to fall out of canter, which she still does a bit my fault I let her get downhill so next time I will try to do better for her. Also you can see after 2 or 3 strides she starts to head down hill in her canter so we have done lots of transitions, then when we come back to trot she again starts to dive down but now I am more aware of it I ask her “can we stay a bit more up in the trot please?” when I ask because I notice often she will give me her best try. Before we entered the world of the Waterhole Rituals riding was a bit scary for both of us! Now we love seeing what our bodies can manage together, I have become a dependable partner and so has she #bitlessbarebackdressage

 

 

THURSDAY. Wow what a beautiful day it is today, the sun was out even at 7am with a cool breeze to keep the horses from getting too hot, I rode Noons in her saddle as I don’t like to ride bareback all the time we had fun with trotting poles. Of course I always start with connection from the ground and permission to ride.

Maya seemed very soft and gentle this morning, very willing with picking her feet up from a glance and knowing which one was to be lifted next to pick out. She has been more willing and connected as the week has gone on, having more time with her is paying off. So today I put the tack on, she was fine with this, sometimes I work her at liberty in tack as she found the thought of tack stressful and would become spooky, a very different horse with and without tack, she has never had a saddle or bit, I have a saddle I have borrowed and have put it on a couple of times, however the saddler, came to check it and said it was fine but also said Maya had suffered pressure from stirrup bars in the past,so I have been thinking a soft bareback pad with no stirrups or pressure might be better for now. I decided any thoughts of riding were to be put aside about a month ago and that I would work on her willingness to allow me to shape her body more, this was also too stressful in the past, she is starting to think it’s not so bad now, she is also responding nicely to the breath. When she lets me know it is ok to have a sit on her that is all I need to make my day, when it is stressful we stand still when she relaxes I will ask for a step, I stopped the riding a month ago as she only took about 12 steps and felt the need to bury her head down and show the stress in her mouth.
My horses can be very different from one day to another, our relationship can look different at any given moment, my relationship with Noons looks nothing like my relationship with Maya and if Maya choose’s a ridden relationship that is a bonus it will be the relationship we are meant to share and so long as we are both happy and we very much are, that is all that matters. I am always striving to find the right vibration between us that is mutually beneficial. Today we were in agreement, alignment,and connected, we stood at the mounting block and I felt her back tense so I tried to kind of massage her with my seat and she did seem to be ok with that. Unfortunately I forgot to move the camera closer so the part with her showing me it was ok to get on and then even asking me back on after I got off is a bit hard to see. My heart has been joyful all day. Not because I feel the ‘need’ to ride, but because she showed me more trust and calmness.Waiting for todays video to upload it is really slow!

 

 

FRIDAY. Today Maya has had a day off we spent a nice time brushing and hanging out in the stable, too hot now and too many nasty horse flies. First thing Noons really didn’t want to get out of bed, we did get motivated and her attitude changed with some liberty dancing and getting her little brown bottom into gear. We finished with some stuff she likes as she knows she is very clever, she is at liberty and if she walked away I would listen to her feelings. She likes to figure things out and I sometimes think/know she is a step ahead, this week I had asked her to pick up one hind leg at a time I was going to work towards picking one up then the other, so today she made a start on that!

 

 

SATURDAY, another lovely hot day so we were up early, 7am here today was all about the second Waterhole Ritual and something that I feel we all wish to develop. TRUST. How deep can our mutual trust go? Here is Noo noo and we were having a little liberty dance to this music so I kept it playing. Had to end the week of videos with music! Using the Waterhole Rituals has given us a deep mutual trust. I couldn’t end the week without Maya too so I had to do two videos today.

 

 

 

 

 SATURDAY, last day of sharing my week, Maya and I sharing TRUST, she was always stressful going through doorways, always rushing, didn’t like poles and any feeling of being ‘trapped’ of course liberty and the Waterhole Rituals were her calling!. Now she can let me influence her body forwards backwards , through poles etc even backwards around corners ( which is a big one for her) we take baby steps and enjoy the ride! She has to trust me, then I have to trust her.

This was the first time I decided to try the rein around her neck, it is a form of ‘control’ to her.  She is ok with lunging and wearing the bitless bridle so this was an experiment into how does she feel with this? We will always dance at liberty we love it, however we will keep an open mind about other options too and all done with love. Thanks for watching.

 

 

 

Of course next week will look different, our relationships will look different we are always evolving, nothing stands still, even if you ‘do’ nothing you cannot avoid change. Change for good, when we approach things with kindness , a sense of self, gratitude, and I always find a little bit of humor and a smile helps too.

Have a great week,

Love Jayne x

Expanding the Waterhole Ritual community.

I have always said the Waterhole Rituals bring together the nicest people, it is always a group who come together and over the weekend bond and support one another.

Last weekend was no exception I met 6 wonderful horses and their humans and some non horse participants who were also very much part of the group, we had interesting discussions over lunch and learnt from every persons questions.

Whoever was in the arena with a horse was supported and not judged by all watching instead thanked for allowing us all to learn from them and their horse.

 

It is always such a pleasure to share ideas and come together to build a community like this for the weekend. We explored how little we might need to do for our horse to feel our influence. Also how easy is it for our horse to understand our intentions and body language. New questions came up about the type of leadership and energy our horse wishes us to provide and how building trust can be paramount to any other pursuits we share.

The question of wrapping our horse in cotton wool and like our children when they are ready for more independence, helping them have the confidence not to rely on us too much. We worked on connection and relationship and these things are of course all part of that. The horses were allowed to express how they felt and we listened to their feedback and it shows in the beautiful pictures how they offered connection from our approach.

Thank you to Nina brooks for putting it all together, even the chickens wanted to take part.

 

Love Jayne.

You are enough.

There are many lessons we can learn from horses, they bond with us more than we know sometimes, they are mostly under our control to some degree, we don’t all have acres of land and the environment where our horses can roam freely in a herd.

If a horse has an injury or impairment of some kind often they don’t like to show this, other horses will know about it, however often they don’t acknowledge it, it is like us meeting someone with a scar or disability they may not be looking for sympathy, sympathy is not always kind, empathy and acceptance are different. One can empower the other can encourage self pity even.

I am very much looking forward to working with this amazing mare next weekend, she showed me she did not want sympathy, in fact she only wished to know we felt ” You are more than enough, exactly as you are” after all she already knew that.

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Pearl is a little rescue pony who is lame, but she won’t mention it, she suffered a fractured shoulder and was found very neglected. She doesn’t dwell on it or ask for sympathy. She has moved on.

When our horses don’t or can’t perform in a way we would wish if we show them empathy and gently encourage asking small steps that are possible and letting them know. ” You are enough” I am here for you. How does that feel ! if everyone you met could say the same to you and you could say the same to them wow! You are enough.  Acceptance of what is, truly is a great lesson from our horses, I don’t mean you cannot create your own fate in some ways, in life and in the choices we make with horses. the great part about the choices we make with our horses is that they are always there with feedback for us. In fact in life when we take the wrong fork in the road we can also learn from the feedback we receive. If we take it as a lesson we choose more wisely next time.

Lessons from Pearl.

What lessons has your horse given you.?

YOU are enough, thank you for reading.

Jayne x

Are you experiencing your horse ?

It may seem a strange question, I have given much thought to how I can help to guide others to the level of relationship I share with my horses and how I can share the experience of truly experiencing our horse. Not training, not doing something, sharing a presence with our horse.

I can look back to the experience I shared today with my lovely Noonoo riding her. I can look forward to the next experience we may share. However there is nothing like the moment when I am not thinking about it but ‘feeling’ it, the moment when it is not a thought, it is not about judging how good the canter transition was or planning on how to improve the next one. It is ‘feeling’ this one right now. Come on play with this, then play with feeling the next moment.

It may be easier to start to experience your horse while sitting sharing territory, it can be difficult to be present to the moment, however if we stop our mental chatter, well that’s not easy! maybe more allow thoughts to come and go and start to feel the experience of being with our horse, not dwelling in our thoughts, instead allowing the experience to happen. Letting our senses perceive without a mental comment. Even for a moment. While we put into words what happened we are not observing with our presence what is being experienced now.

Oh my it is something to experience, don’t miss it, it could be your horse is the ride of your life. enter their world, the world of feeling and experiencing now. We can even ask our horse how is the world for you now, how does it feel to be you, right now. Wait and feel. How does it feel to be me with you right now. I hope you have a great experience with it.

 

No pictures this week, it is all about feeling. I would love to know your experience of this. Of course then it will be a thought, a memory of what was an experience in the moment felt by you and your horse.

Love Jayne x

Being Grateful.

A big lesson from my recent clinics and something my teacher Carolyn Resnick has always guided  me towards is to practice gratitude. Being grateful really is life enhancing and when it comes to building a relationship with horses when we can be grateful for what  they are ready to offer we tend see the positives.

 

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Having expectations can leave us not feeling so grateful when they do not come to fruition. Sometimes we need to see the bigger picture even if our horse is tiny.

Feeling gratitude for our horse with no expectations feels good for us and our horses.         We are only human and can loose sight of this so if we make it a practice to find something we are grateful for each day this may help us to get used to feeling grateful and seeing the good in almost anything. Generally when something makes us feel good we tend to want more of that feeling.

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Sid here at our clinic in Wales looks like he is feeling good in this moment.

Recently I held an introduction to the Waterhole Rituals day here with my horses, we had no expectations of them and I thank the ladies who came and entered into this exploration with me. In fact in the morning we practiced only the first two rituals, it was so rich with Noonoo showing how she sought connection with each and every one of us while sharing territory, she blessed us with sharing her breath and companionship with us, she had hay and could go where ever she wished.  Also in greeting her there was much to consider and observe in our approach. Before we knew it we had spent the entire morning being very grateful for her, for the sunshine and for the chance to enjoy meeting one another. After lunch we worked with Maya who also had many lessons for us and again left us feeling humble and grateful.

 

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I am always so proud of my girls they always have the lessons that are needed ready for us. They loved this small group of women and offered a great deal of connection. I felt they knew you all came open minded and with open hearts ready to feel the connection they could share.

Tarquin watched on for this one however he came to share territory with me the following day and we were both grateful to share a wonderful hour together. Hopefully he will take part next time.

Gratefully,

Jayne x

 

Wonderful Wales.

Wow what a start to the year,  My second clinic and I am so grateful for the experiences I am given by all the people and horses who allow me to connect with them. Very special, the horses, the people and the setting. Surrounded by hills, birds singing and sheep  with their new born lambs. Brandy house farm was a wonderful setting for a whr’s clinic.  No wonder people take their horses there for holidays staying on site.

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What I really loved about this clinic was the way at least for me, it felt like we became a little herd for the weekend, a wonderfully supportive group of talented horsewomen all wanting the best for their beloved horses, all full of fun, all open to new experiences, and all learning from each other and the horses. It felt like we were all fully engaged and present to what the horses would offer.

 

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The horses were in full expression of themselves, truly at liberty in the large arena we had to work in. We witnessed them honing our skills at using energy and how little we might need as well as,  how much when needed. We experienced when to lead, when grow our leadership and when to follow.

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We searched for an entry point of connection. We looked at how our communications might feel for our horse’s.

30118346_1842509912466024_823270388_n We refined our hello, and watched how graceful it could be. Learnt how we could match the energy of our horse and how our approach was all important to our horse offering an invitation to say hello.

I love it when the horses are allowed the freedom of expression and when the humans are in awe of that expression and aware that we can create connection which will allow our horse to offer a performance from that connection and their expression of who they are. They truly did that this weekend. In fact some of the humans did too, even falling off their chair !!!

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Thank you all so much ladies,

Loving my journey with you all.

Jayne x

Another lesson from Cornwall.

I felt this lesson from the horses and the observations Shelley and I shared through the weekend was worthy of a blog all of it’s own.

As we introduced the Waterhole Rituals to some horses for the first time and took others a little deeper into the practice of them we saw very similar reactions in the horses eyes and expressions.

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Tayo started either not looking at Shelley or with a somewhat skeptical expression, her body posture also communicated how she felt. We noticed the biggest change in her expression and softness of her eyes, also where she was looking with her eyes changed as we worked with her at liberty. The saying ” The eyes are the windows to the soul” couldn’t have been more true with the horses in Cornwall as they all to some degree changed how and where they chose to look.

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Here you can see her posture has changed to very relaxed,  Shelley and Tayo are in sync their legs matching perfectly, this is something our horses offer. Her eyes became soft as did her expression.

When I connect with people at clinics, which is always my aim, I never wear sunglasses I like to be able to look someone in the eye, have you ever noticed how someone who can’t look at you , who shifts their gaze,  can make you feel they are not interested in what you have to say or it can even make you feel uncomfortable and less trusting of them. Maybe we have an in built ability to communicate with our eyes,  horses have not lost this it can be very subtle, if you watch you may spot it. Let your eyes be the window to your soul if you feel the urge to seek connection.

I have noticed that my grandchildren have not dulled this down, they smile with their eyes when they become animated.

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Even Oscar who only has one eye changed his expression and became softer despite the heavy rain and fading light. His human Dawn has been helping him cope with life with only one eye using the Waterhole Rituals he has to know he can trust her and we could see the bond between them. I feel this will get stronger and stronger and they will have a very special partnership.

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Looking forward…… with both eyes as an open window, to meeting and connecting with more horses and humans this year.

Jayne x

Lessons from Cornwall.

After a long drive west, I arrived at The Peep out, a training yard way down into Cornwall. It is also the home of  The Cornwall swimming horses, Thanks to Shelley for inviting me and Chris for being open minded enough to join in and to allow his horses and their handlers to take part. Shelley showed me the area of field she had prepared for us to work in and here you can see the stunning backdrop we had of St Michael’s Mount.

 

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One of the lessons from this clinic was for us to keep our focus if we wish for the focus of our horse. Another was to give up wanting an end goal and instead grow the strings of connection using the first 5 Waterhole Rituals, Develop a bond by spending time sharing territory, evolve a deep mutual trust, encourage willingness and stay focused on our horse to keep his focus. Often when a person’s focus wandered so did the horses. The horses also showed us when our focus drifts and we have a connection, that connection will drift also if we don’t nurture it we can be the one who breaks the connection our horses are offering.

Here the first 5 rituals were in place and the connection was a two way energetic and mutually beneficial  feeling,  Tayo offered companion walking with Shelley.

 

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On Sunday the sun came out and the horses enjoyed some warmth on their backs, some decided sunbathing was the order of the day. It was lovely to work with horses who had been well introduced to the area we would work in they were all very happy here and could even see their field mates. However if we wish to further our relationship and move on from sunbathing together sometimes we need to wake up a bit. This was the case with Juju, once woken up she was very happy to join the party and I felt she was pleased she didn’t miss it.

 

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Hannah and James were our first combination and speaking to Hannah beforehand she expressed that she felt she lacked leadership skills, I think James must have known as he was very happy to follow her lead and her leadership shone through, it was so flowing and easy because she had no end goal and worked on building the relationship with him. He offered to choose her calm, gentle but clear leadership.

 

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He was the perfect gentleman for her to work with and he seemed to know what was needed. When our horse shows us they resonate with our style of leadership and feel we are a trustworthy, fair and reliable leader to choose we have no need of lessons about leadership other than the one given by the horse. I am looking forward to keeping in touch and hearing were it goes for everyone involved.

Thanks for having me Cornwall.

Jayne x

 

 

 

 

Finding the Fun.

My first horse was Jasper a 5 year old cob who was the most caring and fabulous horse, we were together for over 20 years. We explored the countryside together entered some little competitions and he let me hug him loads.

When Jasper slowed up I had a wonderful horse called Stanley, he was a big Irish sport horse he knew how to go forward!!! and he knew how to jump. He didn’t do it slowly I had to trust that he would sort it out much of the time. The dealer who sold him to me had recently shipped him over from Ireland, he told me he had hunted but he was only around 5 years old he had a ‘Look at me’ look about him, he looked right at you.

I was never as brave as him and although I clung on cross country ( which was his favorite thing ) we didn’t tackle anything too big. I enjoyed doing this with him and taking him out jumping as this was the thing he enjoyed most. Apart from when I would take him alone to the forest and gallop up a path we both loved, it was always better alone as no one else could keep up. It was perfect as it was uphill so I knew we would stop at the top.

Jasper and Stanley they were the best of friends.

After Stanley I rode Millie who loved the arena, taught me to ask a mare politely and didn’t like galloping up hills much but taught me loads about dressage. Then came Mitch a beautiful dark brown ex race horse, he taught me about turning a horse into a friend and family pet. Finding the thing my horses enjoy has always lead into whatever we have done, I tend to go with what they like to offer.

Now after all this along came Noo noo a fireball four year old Lusitano she was to give me the greatest lesson of all.

She has taught me I knew nothing and she has taught me about me.

As a young horse I thought she should experience a little of everything to find out what she liked. She was much like Millie in that she really didn’t get excited about running across fields. She went to training evenings going over poles and trying out jumping again she didn’t really go for it in an animated way. We did some dressage but it was either wonderful or she spooked at everything.

It has turned out what she is good at and enjoys is interacting with people, having a close relationship with me,  loving the grandchildren’s attention,  liberty dancing and riding.

This week I put some poles out and making this part of our time together at liberty has turned it into something she is really enjoying now, so long as we enjoy it together. As she has discovered this new fun thing done in companionship she now does it with me on her back with the same enthusiasm. She has been the best teacher of relationship.

This has also helped us with picking our feet up. After one of my conversations with Carolyn Resnick where we discuss the Waterhole Rituals but also dressage, often Carolyn will remind me about having “Pick and Push” in equal amounts. So having a connection and enjoying companionship and fun at liberty can actually help with dressage! or indeed anything your horse and you wish to enjoy together.

Finding the fun for both of you and accommodating each other while enjoying each other’s company. What could be better. I am now learning from Maya as well and discovering what she likes.

Wishing you fun and companionship with your horses.

Jayne x